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Santa Monica Fourth Worst City for First-Time Home Buyers
By Jorge Casuso
July 7, 2021 -- As more people became first-time home buyers last year, Santa Monica was ranked as the nation's fourth worst city to buy a first home, according to a survey by an online financial site released Tuesday.
The city slipped to 297 among a sampling of 300 cities ranked by WalletHub based on affordability, real estate market and quality of life categories. Last year Santa Monica ranked 284 on the list.
The only three cities ranked lower than Santa Monica on the list of "2021's Best & Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers" were in the Bay area -- San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.
To determine the most favorable housing markets for first-time home buyers, WalletHub used 22 "relevant metrics" graded on a 100-point scale and given "corresponding weights."
Santa Monica ranked well below average (150) in four of the key metrics -- housing affordability (234), cost of living (242), rent-to-price ratio (280) and property-crime rate (260).
The city of some 93,000 residents was well above average in several other categories -- real-estate tax rate (24), foreclosure rate (93) and total home-energy cost (61).
Among 135 small cities -- those with fewer than 150,000 residents -- Santa Monica ranked second to last behind Berkeley.
"In 2020, 40 percent of all U.S. single-family home purchases were made by first-time buyers, and 14 percent more people became first-time buyers than the previous year," WalletHub reported.
"This growth is due in part to the fact that interest rates dropped dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the site.
Once again this year's report found that nine of the 10 lowest-ranked cities were in California, with Boston ranking 10th.
Los Angeles ranked fifth, after Santa Monica, followed by San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Glendale and Burbank.
The best place in the nation for first time buyers was Chesapeake, Virginia, followed by Gilbert, Arizona; Lincoln, Nebraska; Cape Coral, Florida, and Boise, Idaho, according too the list.
Hampton, Virginia was the top ranked small city, followed by Surprise, Arizona and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Data used to create the ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zillow, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Insurance Information Institute, AreaVibes, Renwood RealtyTrac, the National Association of Realtors and WalletHub research.
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